Looking Out, Looking In – A Spiritual Vision Unfolds – My Journal

2770652191_67aeac9902_zStanding on the edge of a cliff, I look out over a beautiful panoramic view of a valley. I then look down at my feet, planted firmly in this spot.

Questions stir in me, shooting against the walls of my mind, each trying to one up the other in wanting me to make a decision…………apart from the Spirit of God. This internal conversation goes on and on and on.

Go………Stay
Wait……Move
There…..Here
Jump…..Stand

There is tension brewing within me between what is out there and what is right here. My heart cries out for adventure, yet the practicality of life’s day-to-days keep me anchored to my own fears in real-time. In the place that I stand right now, comfort and convenience can often become my best friends. Life can be lived through a lens of being too careful and too confined. Thank you Holy Spirit that you keep opening my spirit to see my life through an eternal lens of what it is in Christ not what it is in the world.

Is there a clear direction coming soon? Is there an answer to these weighty questions that I have been carrying for so long? I hope so. I don’t want to stand here forever. I like a change of scenery. I want to move within that sweet spot called destiny, called purpose.

Change is GoodChange is good. Change is in my DNA, or at least that is what I keep telling myself, over and over and over.

Yet why is it that at times, I fight this overarching storyline of my life? Why is it that I won’t always accept my own joy in spontaneity, travel and change? The voice of regret likes to remind me about what this has cost me, the price paid over years of travel. Lost time. Lost memories. Lost friendships. Sigh……….wait a minute. If I buy into this, regret would have its way and tell me what my life should have been like…….like this, like that. And if regret had its way, I would never ben standing on the edge of this cliff.

Lost in my thoughts, I smile and look up again to see this beautiful expanse of valley. Something occurs to me. I can’t stand here forever and at some point I have to shorten the distance between here and there. How? Jumping. There’s no way back. The distance between here and there must first be reconciled in me before any new step of adventure is before me

“Define yourself,” an inner voice whispers.

I think for a brief moment before words start flowing out of my inner being.

Words Words WordsTravel
Journey
Places
Inspiration
Color
Nature
Oceans
Mountains
Cities
Museums
Art
Coffee shops
Writing Dreaming Photo this Photo that Creativity Originality Movement Intentional Spontaneous Sound Music Worship Vision

I could go on and on and on but at this point I sense Jesus is smiling. I have been brought to the edge of this cliff for such a time as this. All these words are open-ended. They come alive within action and action involves faith and faith always involves risk and cutting against the grain of what is normal or acceptable. These words integrate my purpose and infuse my being.

So, why am I still standing here, frustrated at times? I am the one holding me back. True reconciliation must take place inside myself in order to move. I have to come to terms with who I am. Not the terms of what anyone says but who God says that I am, how He is forming my life.

I must look at me, the ‘me’ Jesus forms, Holy Spirit breathes into and Father God loves. I am my biggest obstacle to my own well being by allowing so many others to write the script of my life at times, while I passively look on and accept their terms.

What’s next? I don’t know. I’m still standing in this place, on the edge. Been here for a while but I perceive it won’t be for long. This place? It’s been about 4 years now. Preaching about the edge. Talking about faith. Out of the box journey and adventure yet…..I am still here on the edge. Why?

God is doing something so deep in me that it goes beyond anything I have ever been through up to this point in my Christian life. I can’t always define it. I don’t always know exactly what it is. I only know that at some point I will be asked to jump. I hope that what Scripture says is true. I know it is but again….faith in action? There’s always a few questions asked by even the most spiritual of us.

Soaring Eagle

 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isaiah 40:31 Message)

 

This is all preparation time for me into the next phase of my life. One thing I do realize. We never arrive. We are always in journey. And there will be another time that I find myself at the edge of a cliff in preparation to jump once again.

For now, I wait, looking out, looking in. As these two perspectives are reconciled, I will jump into my next place of glory and faith. Christianity is exciting. Or at least I see it that way. Enjoy the journey!

Debra

In Christ,
Debra
About Me
Rivers of Eden Ministry

Blogs, Kenya, Dallas – In That Order

From now until October, my life is taking quite an orderly direction. I’ve not blogged for the past few weeks simply because I have not had a lot to say. A short break is good isn’t it?

For the next 3-4 weeks I am going to reblog some great posts, share some awesome prophetic words I’ve been reading and send out some other things that interest me. Hopefully you will like them too.

Kenya Girls with Bananas

Kenya Girls with Bananas

Kenya Trip – August-September. Really excited about this. These past few years has been quiet for Marvin and I, not a lot of traveling. I am happy to say we are back on the road again. Our call to Kenya beats strong in our hearts. I started ministering there in 2002 all the way up to 2008. Then God said to take a break and we did. Now the door is open again and our vision is clear for this season.

Our itinerary includes prophetic meetings, conferences, and leadership meetings, teamed up with Pastors Augustus and Peninah Mutua. I am working on a 4 day discipleship course that centers on a revelation from Acts 17:28 – Being in Christ, Living in Christ, Moving in Christ and Creative Expression in Christ. This course will take shape in booklet form in the days ahead for upcoming trips. We have a wide open door of ministry and it feels good.

TexasDallas/Fort Worth Area – October – Moving, moving, moving. After these past 2 years of being in Southern California, we are settling in the DFW area for our next season. After much prayer, there seems to be no doubt that this is where we are going and again, we are quite excited about it in every way.

So enjoy the blogs that are forthcoming and be blessed in the Lord.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Sometimes You Simply Can’t Go That Way? Then What?

I found myself telling a friend, “I can’t go into that room with you.” The words came out of my mouth, without an immediate understanding as to what they actually meant. I just knew, deep inside, that these words were accurate in what I felt. This room is not actually a room but a place in life where there may be a fork in the road. One person has to go one way while another person goes the other way. I simply said, “I can’t go into that room with you.”

For months, God did not fully explain why I said it that way. He also did not indicate to me what that statement meant. I lived in the tension, trying to figure out what I meant. Not wanting to be careless, uncaring, or arrogant. Not wanting to be nebulous or vague. I simply could not walk the way she was walking. It does not make the path inherently wrong. It simply means that it was not a way for me at this time in my life.

But, why? There’s the question. I finally got an answer, which brought me great peace and increased freedom.

One day in prayer, the Lord spoke to me.

“Debra don’t hedge your bets.”

Hmmmm? I always get these one-liners from God that take me down a path of understanding His way for my life. They work for me. God is gracious to talk to me with a bit of humor with a lot of creativity.

“Don’t hedge your bets.”

What does it mean?

“Debra, don’t walk forward, leaving a means of retreat open in case Plan A does not work. In your case, stick with the plan. There is no plan B. Follow me.”

“Debra don’t try to protect yourself from any losses by creating a protective barrier around you by following the same ole’ same ole’ way you have always gone.”

“Debra, don’t try to minimize your exposure to loss.”

“Debra, I have created you to take risks.”

God and I spent a whole day rehashing and talking through some things. Like how I have lost my ‘edge’ over the past few years. About how I opted for a safe route because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and rejected and invisible.

I can’t hedge my bets by choosing a sure thing. The only sure thing for me is a person, Christ Jesus. He is leading me by a unique, adventurous path. And I already see it starting. After I accepted His words. He began to tell me how He wired me to be and how I actually am and not to fight it all anymore.

So, I could not go into this room with this friend. Yes, she went into it but I could not. And, God does work it all for good, loving all His children.

I have to live my life following a different rhythm, not always easy or predictable but filled with a measure of risk and adventure. To not do life this way only leaves me bored and passive which is death to my soul.

Follow me a bit further. It gets good.

Jesus spoke to my spirit (paraphrasing of course).

Release fear of the future. I’ve got it all in My hands.

Release fear that the past will repeat itself like “Groundhog Day.”

Release fear that you have missed My plan for your life.

Release fear that people control your destiny by their actions.

Release fear of what people think about you – your failures, mistakes, etc.

Then, very succinctly, I heard, “Ask no more questions about the past. Walk forward.”

From that moment something happened, all in a progression of happenings over the past year. I sensed more and more freedom each day.

I know. I can’t go into anyone’s room that may pull me back into the mundane, doing what is expected in a safe way. I can’t walk into a place where possibilities are only something  continually talked about, but never pursued? Not me.

I can’t walk into rooms that are created for someone else. In fact, I don’t want to live in a room at all. A room is a confined space, limited for me, but perhaps not for others. God is cool in that – giving us what we each need.

I never intended to be selfish by not going into that room but I have followed people into so many rooms over the years that now, I want wide open spaces.

I have walked into rooms where people wanted me to mentor them, counsel them, finance their endeavors, talk with me, cry about their problems, walk through their pain with them, enter into their sorrow, their divorce, etc. And YES I have done it and always will do it as God leads for people who I love.

But NOW, that is not God’s plan for me. I want the wide-open fields, the broad places that are beautiful when it is sunny or when there are blustery winds and thunderstorms. I want these wide-open spaces for that is how I am wired in God.

I want the wide expanse of possibility that exists in the midst of what seems impossible, not being contained or conformed to the pressure of normalcy or the status quo.

I sought a measure of comfort for the past few years due to internal struggles and hopelessness. I am happy to say, that is not the case today.

So Lord, take the roof off or better yet, lead me out in a way you have chosen for me to walk…and to run. At least for this season. To walk on the path of faith that God places before me.

Lord, I won’t hedge my bets by choosing the safe way. This is the life you have given me to show forth your glory. Besides that, to take a path that I have taken before, expecting different results is insanity. I did not say that, Einstein did. He probably also liked wide-open spaces.

I won’t commit to be safe

I won’t rely on Plan B when you are a faithful God.

I won’t look for a way out.

I won’t live in fear and choose what is comfortable.

I won’t protect myself against loss by following what seems to be a sure path or a path where others may go, but I cannot go.

I won’t let safety and comfort be a protective barrier around me, keeping me in a false sense of security.

So what now? Doors are opening, wide, very wide. I had nothing to do with it. It is all about Jesus. Kenya is the first door – 3 weeks in August with a great team of people.

Here is a word for me – changed my life….hope you also love it.

Garris Elkins

The way forward you seek is through a doorway that will remain invisible until you step across its threshold of faith. Many have stalled at this point in their journey because they demanded to see the doorway before they were willing to step forward.

What you need to see is not visible in this realm of natural options and solutions. Seeing with natural eyes will only cause you to stumble and stall. The way forward will appear like a step into nothing, but it will become a step into something wild and beautiful.

As you step forward, you will be responding to a voice. Listen for the voice – this is your doorway. The one who said, “I am the door” is the voice inviting you to step forward. Once you cross this threshold an enter this doorway you will see what was not previously visible in your current circumstances.

In Christ
Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to live a prophetic life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in August in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information if you would like us to minister in grace and glory. If you even want to donate to this ministry, here’s the Rivers of Eden link.

 

Life On The Island – Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Here’s Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. We lived there for 4 years, loving every minute of it. Life there is – what’s the word – cushy? Convenient? Indulgent – yep, that’s it! Indulgent, the perfect word. The UAE is filled with self-indulgence. They want to be bigger, better, and more iconic than any other nation. Most people take jobs there because you are paid more to go on an overseas assignment. For a few years, you can pretend that you are rich, at least for a few. The UAE is one of the richest nations on the planet. You realize this when suddenly you stop at a traffic light and notice a brand new Ferrari, Maserati, BMW, Bentley or Jag and a young person is driving it because Daddy gave it to them for a birthday present. Oh, yes, shopping at Marina Mall – check out those ladies sauntering into Chanel and Armani just for quick shopping trip. I learned a lot.

Abu Dhabi Apartment

Abu Dhabi Apartment

The island is mostly expats from 125 nations so life is very very interesting. I guess I can spend more than one blog to talk about this but I don’t have the time, right now at least. We had a glorious apartment in the middle of Abu Dhabi, drove a Peugeot (unfamiliar to most Americans), enjoyed our official day off as being Friday and not Sunday, and endured temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for summer months. Marvin worked on the Abu Dhabi airport for those years, so I had a lot of time to write, travel, and explore. I guess now it may pay off in writing. At least I hope so.

Abu Dhabi Apartment View

Abu Dhabi Apartment View

What did I learn there? Okay I hope, amidst the light heartedness of this blog, that I can speak some reality right now. I learned that women were second-class citizens much of the time. I learned that Filipinos along with Pakistanis and Indians were little more than slaves in this culture in the way they were treated. I also learned to live in the tension of seeing reality but unable to speak against it at that time. I learned a lot.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

To live the life of a nomad is a choice. We lived in California during the years our children were growing up, but they are now adults. Travel increased for us around 2000, making a choice to live free and clear of any entanglements that would keep us bound to one place. We do not own a home. We live very simply with few material possessions. Hmmm, I do love my used BMW – always have, always will. We don’t like to be in one place for too long. I have decided to stop fighting this and to move into the glorious reality of my life.

Abu Dhabi Beaches

Abu Dhabi Beaches

More travel is ahead of us. I know it because that is how God created me. I consistently prayed for God to give us a few places to ‘settle’ and hang our hat and then to travel out from there. It’s a lot less unpacking if you can afford it. Well, let’s see if that is a reality for us in 2014. I want California and Finland as home bases. Settling for two for the price of one – one small small apartment in Cali and one small small apartment in Finland BUT the back yard is the world to me, along with some disposable income to move out and GO. Life is beautiful to me and Jesus is the very center of my joy. I like how He created Debra. My life is not glamorous. I sacrificed a lot to live this way, but it is all worth it. It truly is.

Risk and Adventure – Speaking from Outside the Walls

quotes-on-adventure-2Religion is like going on a cruise. Once onboard the ship, you enter a no-stress zone where life consists of preplanned and prepackaged activities. You only need to sit back and take it all in for 3-10 days. Decisions are limited so that you can relax and not be subject to any risk or adventure. They’ve got it all under control. You fit into pre-existing templates for your pleasure and enjoyment.

As a passenger, you simply choose from the available menu. Do I want the first seating or second seating at dinner? What excursion do I want to take tomorrow? Some people like that. I’ve tried it.  I don’t like it. I am a woman who loves the journey with all the risks that may come into play in traveling away from the predictable establishment. I would go so far as to say Christianity itself is a creative journey of risk and adventure. That is exactly why I left the church as it currently exists. I don’t like cruises. I like adventure. I am looking and I am searching for Christianity again outside the walls of the church.

When we moved out, which is what this blog is all about, we encountered raised eyebrows and great concern that we would backslide. How is that possible with Christ in me? Where am I backsliding to anyway? Leaving the form is not leaving Christianity. I want to go outside the walls of predictability to find those who are seeking a city, whose builder and maker is God, not man. Christ building His church, His way by the Spirit – formed by revelation, not information; that is the desire of our hearts.

223972_10151088773563692_380605007_nThis is my life now and I love it. Perhaps you don’t understand this at all. It may be because you need to equate Christianity with a form, a building, something to see, to grasp hold of, or to measure. That is not for us. It never was for us. The tension of all those years building up inside of me finally makes sense to me now.

I love the adventure and the risk of listening to the Holy Spirit speak to us to move out, to travel, and to journey. My heart is grounded in relationships, strong solid relationships of accountability we have formed in Christ over the years with many different people. My life is formed in adventure. The Holy Spirit has taken us around the world. I have lived in the Middle East. Finland is another place I call home with our residence visa. I have traveled to so many nations over the years. I am full and alive in Christ.

Where to go? What to do? Unfortunately, as we tested the waters and visited a few churches over the past few years, we were often met with suspicion and caution, as if we were spiritual terrorists trying to overthrow the existing structure. Or we were asked to fit in so they would know who labors among them. They would give us a chance when they could fit us into some template of their understanding. Gheeessh! Oy vey! OMG! We don’t lose hope for the church. Christ is in control. But, we do totally believe that it cannot go on as it is in its current condition. Change is in the air! Open your eyes to see!

Hebrews 11:9-10 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. NKJV

onesdestinationI am in the world, not of the world. I live in promise, destiny, and identity now – Christ in me, the hope of glory. My eyes are looking in a new direction, outside the box of conformity. My eyes see that others are out here with me. We are not wanderers at all but travelers, looking for that city where the foundations are laid in Christ, not man. I am looking for that which is built according to Holy Spirit, according to the revelation of a heavenly blueprint from God. When I find it, and I will find it, I will see a habitation for His glory, a place where He dwells in His people and the overflow of this will be His Kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. Perhaps Marvin and I will be directed to build such a place again. The Spirit will show us in the days ahead. For right now, I am called to write and transition through some things for 2013. But, 2014 is right around the corner. Where will we find ourselves? Time will tell.